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This Kansas City rental kitchen helps caterers and food trucks test out their business ideas

A man gestures with his right hand while talking at a microphone in a radio studio.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Adell Kirkwood III talks on KCUR's Up To Date about his Kookin' Cousins Kitchen on June 6, 2023.

Kookin’ Cousins Kitchen, a Kansas City-based kitchen rental and culinary instruction facility, opened its doors in March of this year. Since then, it’s offered residents the chance to hone their cooking skills through a series of classes, and test out their ideas for new restaurants and businesses.

Kookin’ Cousin Kitchen, which first opened its doors in late March, is not the first business that owner Adell Kirkwood III has started.

He previously founded the similarly named Kookin’ Cousin Catering, an experience that he said partially inspired him to find a dedicated space where local caterers could operate without needing to purchase a traditional storefront.

“We start by doing things, as they say, ‘out of the trunk’ and selling food to local barber shops," Kirkwood told KCUR's Up To Date. "Later we thought, ‘why don't we be that facilitator for this?’”

Since opening, Kookin' Cousin has mainly functioned as a rental kitchen, allowing Kansas City-area caterers, food trucks, and ghost kitchens to reserve space to prep orders and prepare for events.

The building even has space for businesses to produce promotional media content, like podcasts, to advertise their service.

Operating near the border between Raytown and Kansas City, just off I-70, Kirkwood believes that the business will only get busier with time.

“I felt like we've got easy access,” he says. “I love the convenience of the highways. Especially for catering companies that have to go on the move. It was just a great location.”

In addition to rental services, Kookin' Cousins also began offering a series of cooking classes for adults and children shortly after opening. The classes are aimed at teaching residents general cooking skills and how to find healthier ways to prepare their food.

Kirkwood says he’s been especially happy with the amount of young people who sign up to take the classes.

“The kids that we've had coming in so far they just burst with smiles, energy and questions,” he says. “We get to give them that chance to cultivate a dream, cultivate a passion.”

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As KCUR’s Community Engagement Producer, I help welcome our audiences into the newsroom, and bring our journalism out into the communities we serve. Many people feel overlooked or misperceived by the media, and KCUR needs to do everything we can to cover and empower the diverse communities that make up the Kansas City metro — especially the ones who don’t know us in the first place. My work takes the form of reporting stories, holding community events, and bringing what I’ve learned back to Up To Date and the rest of KCUR.

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